Annie wrote this beautiful letter about her experience at the 2009 Aspen Winter Games Program:

“The antidote for those who have touched death and lived is life. The recovery for those who have been forced to grow up at a young age, is a revisited childhood. This is exactly why Shining Stars is a foundation I hold close to my heart. A heart, that I believe, is truly understood by the people who fight to keep this foundation strong.

A part of me died when I beat cancer, something I left behind in that hospital bed, but by some miracle it was revitalized by perfect strangers. Those who scrounged for vegetarian meals when there were none, who massaged the throbbing muscles I didn’t know I had, and above all, who comforted me when a Shining Star passed on.

In a moment that brought back every ounce of pain, I received a love that was invaluable. A bond with people who you don’t have to explain what the word “surgery or radiation has meant to you…Fighting over pizza and pops - we were normal. Not because the cancer was gone, but because the normal thing was to have cancer. No longer was the ‘cancer girl’ whispered in hushed tones while passing people in the hall, but ‘Annie’. Those were the moments that made Winter Games extraordinary.

That is exactly why Shining Stars changes everything for kids that simply deserve to be kids again. Shining Stars is no organization. Shining Stars is a family and an escape from the past we have overcome. As kids, we learn how to live as a survivor without letting our scars define us. Through the beauty and innocence of new experiences with those who understand their struggle, children are children again.”

- Annie B., Shining Star participant